The Ultimate Queenstown Ski Season Guide | Experience Oz + NZ

Ultimate Queenstown Ski Season Guide

One of Queenstown’s most popular seasons, winter in New Zealand and more specifically Queenstown welcomes snow bunnies from around the world. A favourite winter wonderland getaway for Australians with people regularly making the trip across the ditch every year or so, for first timers it can be quite an overwhelming trip to plan.

Here we will break down the ski season to tell you all you need to know and help you plan the perfect winter getaway to the Adventure Capital of the World. This article will be focusing on what weather to expect, what to pack, where to go and what to do.

What weather to expect

Winter Season: 1st of June until the 31st of August

Ski season: Beginning of July until early October

Temperatures: From 0 degrees Celsius to 8 Degrees Celsius and in the minus on the best days

What to expect: Icy mornings, snowfall, showers and clear skies

weather queenstown

The beginning of June welcomes the beginning of winter in New Zealand and continues through until August and the very beginning of October if it’s a flourishing season. With temperatures descending down to 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) and cooler and reaching tops of an averaged 8 degrees Celsius (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on the warmer days, a New Zealand winter is long, cold and haven for snow lovers.

What to pack

Think snow, wind and sun, winter in New Zealand is a mixture of an Australian winter and American winter. Be sure to pack warm clothing such as large jackets, jeans, thermals, boots, scarves and beanies as well as a few t-shirts and/or light shirts for those sunny days on the slopes. However, it all depends on what you deem ‘cold’ and how you personally prefer to dress for the cooler months.

Be sure to check temperatures before visiting to ensure you pack appropriately, but if you forget anything there are various shops in Queenstown Mall to stock up.

What you’ll need

If you have your own equipment such as skis, poles and snowboards as well as ski jackets, pants and boots, that’s great! You can organise large baggage with your airline to ensure your equipment gets there safely with you. However, if you are visiting without any equipment, fear not as you can hire everything you need from local operators.

queenstown equipment hire ski season

There are various snow rentals and shops in Queenstown as well as at the resorts themselves, making it easy for you to grab everything you need. If you’re a first time skier or snowboarder it is recommended you hire a helmet for your own safety along with all of the necessary clothing and equipment. Rental prices vary between operators so be sure to look around prior to your trip to ensure you get the best value for money. Below is a handful of rental business in the Queenstown area.

  • Snow Rental
  • Ski Hire Queenstown
  • One Stop Snow Shop

Where to go

Queenstown has the longest ski seasons in the Southern Hemisphere and with four main slopes to conquer visitors are spoilt for choice no matter their skill level. Here we’ll break down the different ski areas in the Queenstown vicinity.

  • Coronet Peak

    Season: 11th June – 2nd October

    Hours: 9am – 4pm + night skiing

    Average Snowfall: 2.1 metres

    Longest run: 2.4km

    The closest field to the Queenstown city centre, Coronet Peak is just a 25 minute drive with the option of a shuttle service to and from throughout the day. Avid Skiers and snowboarders will b of all skill levels will be in their element with 25% of the runs suitable to beginners, 45% for intermediate and 30% for advanced skiers and snowboarders. With a range of facilities available including kids care, food and bars as well as the option of night skiing throughout the season.


    Getting There:

    • 20 minute self-drive from Queenstown
    • Coronet Peak Bus transport; Snowline Express

    Resort Facilities

    • 4 x learner conveyor lifts
    • 1 x six seater express chair lift
    • 2 x high-speed quad chair lifts
    • 1 x t-bar pully
    • Sno Shop
    • Storage
    • Car Parking

    Kids Facilities:

    • Mini Kids (aged 3 months to under 2 years)
    • Kiwi Kids (aged 2 to 5 years)
    • Skiwi Kids (under 5’s ski lessons & activities)

    Eateries:

    • Heidi’s Hut
    • Substation
    • Coronet Peak Café
    • Coronet Peak Restaurant

    Trail Map:

    Coronet-Peak_pistemap_full

  • The Remarkables

    Season: 18th June – 25th September

    Hours: 9am – 4pm

    Average snowfall: 3.1 metres

    Longest run: 1.5km

    The closest field to the Queenstown city centre, Coronet Peak is just a 25 minute drive with the option of a shuttle service to and from throughout the day. Avid Skiers and snowboarders will b of all skill levels will be in their element with 25% of the runs suitable to beginners, 45% for intermediate and 30% for advanced skiers and snowboarders. With a range of facilities available including kids care, food and bars as well as the option of night skiing throughout the season.


    Getting There:

    • 35 minute self-drive from Queenstown
    • 45 minute self-drive from Arrowtown
    • 1 hour 15 minute self-drive from Wanaka
    • The Remarkables bus transport; Snowline Express

    Resort Facilities:

    • 1 six seater express chairlift
    • 3 quad chairlifts
    • 3 surface conveyor lifts
    • 3 terrain parks
    • Sno Shop
    • Storage
    • Car Parking

    Kids Facilities:

    • Mini Kids (aged 3 months to under 2 years)
    • Kiwi Kids (aged 2 to 5 years)
    • Skiwi Kids (under 5’s ski lessons & activities)

    Eateries:

    • Rastusburn Coffee Bar
    • The Remarkables Cafe
    • The Remarkables Restaurant and Grill

    Trail Map:

    Remarkables_pistemap

  • Cardrona Alpine Resort

    Season: 11th June – 9th October

    Hours: 9am – 4pm

    Average Snowfall: 2.9 metres

    Longest Run: 4km

    Located a little further out, Cardrona is an hour drive from Queenstown and only reached via independently owned shuttle services to and from. Cardrona has everything you’ll need for the perfect ski getaway; accommodation, food, bars, playgroup and various kids facilities to keep them entertained. It is also a ski area with a range of different levelled runs, the majority of which are suited to intermediate skiers and snowboarders.


    Getting There:

    • Daily shuttles from Queenstown
    • 1 hour drive from Queenstown
    • 50 minute drive from Queenstown airport

    Resort Facilities:

    • Lessons and coaching
    • Ski & Board parks
      • Big Bucks Park
      • Stag Lane
      • Antlers Alley
      • Lil’ Bucks Park
      • Olympic Superpipe
      • International Halfpipe
      • Big Air
      • Gravity X
    • The Cardrona Shop
    • On mountain accommodation

    Kids Facilities:

    • Ski and snowboard essons
    • Cardrona Nursery (aged 3 months to under 2 years)
    • Cardrona Kindy (aged 2 to 4 years) – indoor education
    • Ski Kindy (Childcare & lessons for 3 and 4 years)

    Eateries:

    • Base Café
    • Mezz Café
    • Juice and Java Bar
    • Noodle Bar
    • Captain’s Pizzeria

    Trail Map:

    Cardrona_pistemap

  • Treble Cone

    Season: 23rd June – 2nd October

    Hours: 9am – 4pm

    Average Snowfall: 5.5 metres

    Longest Run: 4km

    The furthest ski area from Queenstown and the most difficult in terms of runs, the 90-minute journey at to Treble Cone is best suited for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Only 10% of runs are suited to beginners, so though they are catered for there isn’t much variety in terms of terrain as the remaining 90% of runs is equally split between intermediate and advanced visitors. Much like Cardrona, Treble Cone has a range of facilities including accommodation, eateries, bars, kids care and facilities to keep the entire family and ski group entertained.


    Getting There:

    • Daily shuttle to and from Queenstown; Adults from $50, children from $38
    • 90 minute self-drive from Queenstown
    • Free mountain parking at Base Lodge and bottom of access road

    Resort Facilities:

    • 2 x terrain parks
      • Jazz Park
      • Jazz Kid’s Fun Trail
    • Dedicated beginners area + 3 beginner tracks
    • 8 intermediate tracks
    • 12 advanced tracks
    • Snow Sports School
    • Snow Gear Rentals
    • Retail Sho
    • Scenic Chairlift Rides
    • Mountain Tours
    • Medical centre

    Kids Facilities:

    • Kids group lessons
    • Small learn to ski lessons
    • School holiday camps (intermediate skiers)

    Eateries:

    • Triple Treat Ready-To-Eat
    • The Cheeky Kea Burger Bar & Café
    • Altitude Espresso & Pizza Cafe

    Trail Map:

    Treble-Cone-Trail-Map-2014

What to book

 

There are various companies that bundle up the best of the Queenstown ski season for one great price. These packages usually include your passes to a number of ski resorts in the region, transfers to and from the airport or your accommodation, ski hire and lessons.

Be sure to research the available passes to decide which bundle best suits you and the experience you want to have this coming season. Below is a list of some of the companies that offer bundle passes and packages or you can purchase directly from the ski resorts.

  • Ski & Ride NZ
  • Ski New Zealand

What’s on

Despite the cool weather that deters some, the other half warmly welcomes winter, as does the Queenstown social calendar. One of the main events being the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival running from the 24th of June until the 3rd of July, this festival is jam packed with entertainment, competitions and just plain snow-themed fun.

With something on the schedule for everyone to enjoy be sure to plan your time accordingly so as not to miss anything and to take advantage of some of the world’s best slopes.

Below is a brief breakdown of some of the events on at the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival, for the full schedule visit their website.

American Express Opening Party & Fireworks

Celebrate the Winter Festival with food, live entertainment and fireworks overlooking Lake Wakatipu from Earnslaw Park with free entry from 5:30pm.

24.06.16

American Express Winter Wonderland Ice Rink

Lace up your skates and enjoy a day on the ice Village Green from 10am until 10pm. Entry is from $10 with special deals for American Express Card Members.

24.06.16 - 03.07.16

American Express Festival Street Parade

Following the Winter Wonderland theme, from 12pm Queenstown’s streets will come alive with floats and costumes for free family fun.

25.06.16

American Express Comedy Debate

Enjoy a night of laughs at the Queenstown Events Centre from 7pm when NZ & Aus comedians debate if ‘NZ should become a state of As’. Purchase grandstand or table seats from $69.

25.06.16

Skycity Ball

Dress to impress at the ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ ball with local bands and entertainment from 7pm. Tickets on sale for $159 pp.

02.07.16

Auckland Airport Community Carnival

From 4:30pm-8pm the Queenstown streets will come alive with the free closing finale. Explore the whole carnival and enjoy a variety of entertainment.

03.07.16

What to do

If you’re looking to explore Queenstown away from its slopes, you’ll be treated to a wide selection of adventures. Queenstown is known as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and it surely lives up to its name with it being the home of bungy jumping. You can choose from three different bungy sites in Queenstown including Kawarau Bridge – the original bungy site –, The Ledge and Nevis – the highest in Australiasia – each making it in the 9 scariest bungies in Australia and New Zealand.

Other attractions include Jet Boat rides, skydiving, canyoning, zip line tours, white water rafting and quad bike safaris to name a few. Visit our full catalogue to see all you can do in Queenstown. There is set to be something to suit your entire group including the young ones with family white water rafting, Kiwi Birdlife Park, the Skyline Gondola and the Skyline Luge all crowd favourites amongst the youngsters.

Also, if you want to up your ski game you can sign up for a heli-ski adventure from Queenstown. Reserved for those with a high level of skill, you can choose between three, four or seven run packages. It’s advised you book before your trip as the ski season is very popular and there is a chance of this thrilling adventure booking out. See the full range of available heli-ski experiences here.


In addition, if you’re looking for all the top things to see and do in and around Queenstown including activities, attractions and more, be sure to check out our main region section to browse and book online!

Browse All Queenstown Experiences

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